Balram Singh Tewatia
Balram Singh (death: 29.11.1753) (बलराम सिंह) was a Jat King of Tewatia gotra of the princely state of Ballabhgarh. He was son of Charan Das. He was brother in law of Maharaja Suraj Mal and mama of Maharaja Jawahar Singh.
The small kingdom of Ballabhgarh, 20 miles from Delhi, was founded in his name. At present Ballabhgarh is a town in Faridabad District of Haryana, India. Raja Nahar Singh (1823 – 1858) was a famous King of Ballabhgarh. The name of the Jat Raja Nahar Singh will always be highly regarded among those who martyred themselves in the 1857 war of independence.
The founders of the princely state of Ballabgarh had come from village Janauli, which is more than 2000 years old. The Tewatia Jat Sardar Gopal Singh left Janauli in 1705 (in Palwal) and got settled at Sihi, a village of Tewatia Jats in Ballabgarh at a distance of about 5 km from Ballabhgarh. The Mughal ruler Aurangzeb had died. Gopal Singh started establishing power in Delhi and Mathura areas. With the help of Gujars of village ‘Lagon’ he attacked Rajput Chaudhary of that area and did a treaty with Mugal officer Murtija Khan of Faridabad and became Chaudhary of Faridabad pargana in 1710. He wanted to expand his army and collect huge wealth but died soon. His successor was Charan Das. Charan Das was also ambitious and when saw weakening of the Mughal rule, he stopped paying malgujari. The army of Mughals arrested Charan Das.
Charan Das's son, Balram Singh, later rose to a powerful king. Princely state of Ballabgarh is after his name. He was brother in law of Maharaja Suraj Mal and mama of Maharaja Jawahar Singh. Jats along the Royal Delhi-Agra route at that time were in revolt against the oppressive Mughal rule. Tewatias of this area had already established themselves as counter force in this area. Balram Singh often called Ballu by the local people moved on a few Elephants, Horses and Camels loaded with Big drums (Nagaade) and Dhaunse (big band) followed by his local army. Went wherever Ballu with this band it was assumed that area was no longer of Mughals and Ballu had won that. It was a sort of Aswamedh Yagna that he performed. Here from started a saying "Dheeng Dheeng Ballu ka Raj". Immediately peace returned to those areas, which were won over by Ballu.
Murtija Khan’s son Akvitmahmud killed Balram Singh on 29 November 1753. After Balram Singh, Maharaja Suraj Mal appointed Balram Singh’s sons Bisan Singh and Kisan Singh as Kiledars. They ruled Ballabhgarh till 1774, when Hira Singh became the ruler of Ballabhgarh.
Suraj Mal helps the Jats of Ballamgarh against the Nawab Wazir Safdar Jang
K. R. Qanungo mentions....[p.45]: Already master of the Mathura district, Suraj Mal cast his eye upon the neighbourhood of Delhi and was waiting for an oportunity to extend his authority further south. The Jats of Ballamgarh, hard pressed by the faujdar of Faridabad, sought his help, and this embroiled him further with the Mughal Government. We may here briefly trace the history of the Jat feudal house of Ballamgarh. One Gopal Singh Jat of the Tewatia got (sept) settled in Sihi, a village three miles north of Ballamgarh, about 1705 and became wealthy and powerful by highway robbery on the Mathura - Delhi road. He allied himself with the Gujars of Tiagaon (8 miles east of Ballamgarh; long. 77°-30', lat. 28°-25'. ) and with their help killed the Rajput Chaudhari of the neighbouring villages. Murtaza Khan the local Mughal officer of Faridabad, instead of punishing the rebel, made peace with him by appointing him as Chaudhari of Faridabad pragana, entitled to a cess (rate) of one anna in the rupee on the revenue in 1710. After the death of Gopal Singh, his son Charandas succeeded him. and seeing how weak the imperial grasp was growing even in the nearer districts, withheld the revenue and set the authority of Murtaza Khan at defiance. However, Charandas was captured and thrown into prison at Faridabad. After some time, his son Balaram, duping1 the Khan by a false payment of ransome, set him at
1. The story goes that Balaram promised to pay a large amount; in cash directly his father was freed. According to previous stipulations, Charandas was brought guarded to the side of a tank near Ballamgarh, and when the cart bringing the treasure had come up, Charandas was let go. He immediately made of on a fleet horse with his son. The other bags were found to contain copper coins (paisa) only. Delhi, Gazetteer, foot note, p. 213.
This act of rebellious aggression remained unpunished till the accession of Emperor Ahmad Shah (1747). The Wazir wrote repeatedly to Balram and Raja Suraj Mal to give up the above mentioned parganas, but was put off with false pretences and evasive replies. This was sufficient to kindle the wrath of the wazir and to make him swear the utter destruction of the Jats. So he took the field against them in 1162 H. (January, 1749), almost simultaneously with the Amir-ul-umra, and captured Faridabad. Suraj Mal, elated with his recent success over one imperial army led by the commander-in-chief of the Mughal empire, was not in a mood to hear the proposals of the wazir to resign peacefully the places in dispute. He prepared to back the Jats of Sihi with all his resources and putting the forts of Deeg and Kumher in a state of defence, marched against the wazir (June, 1749). Fortune befriended Suraj Mal; the wazir, on receiving the news of formidable Ruhela rebellion in the immediate neighbourhood of his suba of Oudh, had to put off the settlement of his score with the Jats and return to Delhi. He fought these Afghans, and after quelling their disturbance, left his deputy Nawal Ray in charge of the districts wrested from them (beginning of 1750). Then he resumed his operations against the Jats, and sent an army against them. The Jats having got ready for fight, the wazir started against them during the rains (July 1750) and advanced as far as Khizirabad. About this time the news of a great disaster, viz., the defeat and death of Nawal Ray at the hands of Ahmad Khan Bangash, induced the wazir to make up his quarrel with Suraj Mal. A compromise was effected through the mediation of the Maratha vakil. In order to save appearences, Balaram.1 with his wrists bound together,
2. This Balaram is the builder of the fort of Ballamgarh or Ballabgarh. He is not the same man as his namesake, who was the brother of Suraj Mal's wife, Hansia. This Balaram was killed on the 29th November, 1753 by one Aqibat Mahmud Khan as appears from the following entry (p. 83) in the Waqa-i-Shah Alam Sani: "On the 2nd Safar (1167 H.) Aqibat Khan, who went to Ballu Jat (Balaram) to settle the affair of his jagir, had an exchange of harsh words with Jat. He cut off the head of the said Jat and brought his head to His Majesty (Ahmad Shah)." This Aquibat Mahmud was the son of Murtaza Khan, whom Balaram had slain. However, Ballamgarh and Faridabad remained in possession of Suraj Mal who appointed Kishan Singh and Bishan Singh, sons of Balaram, as the quiladar and nazim of Ballamgarh. They retained their office till 1774. (See Delhi Gazetter, p. 213) This date, like all others, in the Gazetteer is doubtful.
[p.47]: accompanied the Maratha envoy to the presence of the wazir, who graciously pardoned him and gave an implicit sanction to his illegal acquisitions. Raja Suraj Mal was given a khilat of 6 pieces, and his bakhshi one of two pieces. Mutual appreciation of merit and ability laid the foundations of a true friendship between the Nawab wazir and the great Jat, who ever after stood faithfully by his ally, even under most desperate circumstances.
Balram's Affair And The Murder Of Javed
G.C.Dwivedi writes.... Earlier, on his return to Delhi (25th April) Safdar Jang discovered to his bitter annoyance that he was Wazir in name only and that all his powers and privileges had passed into the hands of Javed Khan. The latter, in fact, had all along been his arch enemy, conspiring to frustrate his objectives, weaken his strength, turn the Emperor against him and dislodge him from the Wizarat unless bribed heavily. Among other hostile acts, he had got Salabat Khan (also a Shia like the Wazir), Safdar Jang's strongest ally, dismissed from the post of the Mir Bakhshi and Ghazi-ud-Din Firoz Jang, the pillar of the Turani party, appointed instead.6 Now he tried to wean away Balram Jat (of Ballamgarh) from Safdar Jang, an attempt reminiscent of his tendentious favour to Suraj Mal's son (Jawahar Singh) earlier.
This incidence runs as follows: On 2nd July, 1752 (lst Ramzan, 1165 A.H.), when the Wazir was moving to his mansion in Delhi from his camp across the Yamuna, Nawab Javed Bahadur sat down in the Anguribag (which lay on the Wazir's way) expecting the Wazir to pay him respects. But Safdar Jang went straight without caring for the eunuch. This highly offended Javed and he immediately called Balram (then in Delhi),7 gave him a khilat, appointed him faujdar, of Sikandarabad and ordered him to expel forcibly the lawful holder of that post, Qamar Ali. He also instigated Balram to foment as much trouble there as possible.
Balram, who was a man with little scruples, executed heartily the task assigned to him. On reaching Sikandarabad, he asked Qamar Ali to vacate the city since the fajdari now lay with him. When Qamar Ali insisted on being shown the order, Balram attacked him and killing his son put him to flight. The Jat occupied the district and plundered everything that he could lay his hands upon. He dug up the floors of the houses and tortured the local traders to extort money. The Wazir and Javed were both present in the Court, when this horrifying tale was reported the same night. Safdar Jang asked his opponent:
- What is the matter? If Balu has been appointed by you as the new faujdar of the place, why is he plundering and killing the people there? If he is acting against your wishes, I am going there and would bring him a prisoner.
6. Sarkar, Fall, I, 364, 368-369.
7. Balram must have been in touch with Javed for some time which accounted for his prompt ready availability. It is significant to note that we do not find Balu being referred to in the context of the 2nd Afghan expedition. It may show that this time he stayed back.
[p.143]: Javed evaded the answer but offered that he would punish the Jat himself. Next day, Javed sent an insignificant force under his jamadar, Narsingh Rai, apparently instructing him not to fight the Jat. Safdar Jang also despatched Rajender Giri Gosain against Balram. But Narsingh passed on to him the news of Gosain's coming and allowed him to escape with all his loot to Dankaur (15 miles due east of Ballamgarh), in the eunuch's Jagir. Meanwhile, Rajender Giri arrived and though a skirmish followed, he safely managed his way to Ballamgarh. Thus ended the show of a campaign against the incited plunderer of the Emperor's privy purse estate. Balram's victims begged for justice but in vain.8 Safdar Jang sent for Balram. On being inquired, he plainly told that whatever excesses he had committed, he did "at the instance of Nawab Bahadur. Hearing it, the Nawab's (Javed's) head hung down in repentance and he (Javed) begged pardon for his mischievous role."9
The above details suggest that Javed Khan was playing a very clever game. By seducing a section of the Jats he calculated to decrease, however small in size, the ranks of the Wazir and if the desired did not take place, to artfully defame his rival, as the patron of the atrocious plunderers of the Emperor's privy purse estate.
Balram's affair turned Safdar Jang mad with rage and he resolved to remove from his way his greatest hurdle, Javed. In a momentary flush of anger, the Emperor himself sent him a word to that effect.10 Safdar Jang now called his "steadfast ally", Suraj Mal, ostensibly for consultation on political matters but really to crush possible opposition jointly. Suraj Mal responded and leading his force encamped at Kalkappahari (c. third week of August, 1752). An agent of Madho Singh and Balram (of Ballamgarh) joined him there with their respective forces. Javed grew curious about the purpose of their coming as in the past they (impliedly Suraj Mal's son, Jawahar Singh and Balram Jat)11
8. TAH, 38a, 39a-40a; Shakir, 71.
10. Imad, 91; Amira, 85; Bayan-I-Waqai in Elliot, VIII, 133.
11. TAH, 40a-40b. The word "Inha" (these) occurring in this passage of this work has to be interpreted carefully. Whatever impression it might leave outwardly, , it cannot properly incorporate the name of Suraj Mal personally. This may be inferred from one simple fact that ever since their alliance, the Wazir never remained out of Delhi without Suraj Mal not accompanying him. But same was not the case with Balu and the former's own disgruntled son, Jawahar Singh. We know that both of them had been the recipients of Javed's favour and significantly both had not regularly marched under the banners of Safdar Jang, Jawahar keeping back in his first while Balram in his second Afghan expedition. It is thus clear that the Jats implied herein were actually Balram and Jawahar and that it were these, one time beneficiaries rather than Suraj Mal, who, along with other favours also got (on paper) the fiefs mentioned in TAL, 108. And yet if the name of Suraj Mal is referred to at both the places (i .e. in TAL. and TAH. in the present context) it is probably because of the fact that in the Jat affairs of this period, it was generally his transcending name that ultimately counted for every thing. Its greatest proof is that even during the life time of the reigning King, Badan Singh, we find nearly all the Jat transactions being carried in the name of Suraj Mal.
[p.144]: used to court his patronage. He wished that on this occasion also they should meet him first and discuss their affairs. However, due to the presence of the Wazir in the Capital no way could be found for the intended separate meeting. It was then settled that Javed should go to the Wazir's mansion and there the two together should meet Suraj Mal and others on 27th August, 1752 (27th Shawwal). In the morning on the date fixed, Safdar Jang sent Ismail Khan to call Suraj Mal, instructing him to intimate Javed of Suraj Mal's coming and also request him to come and hold talks with Suraj Mal at his residence. Soon after Javed arrived followed by Suraj Mal in the afternoon and discussions between the three were held. In the evening the Wazir led rival (Javed) to an inner apartment where after a brief talk he was done to death by the Mughal soldiers. The news of this murder occasioned great commotion but no hostile movements. The rumour spread that the Wazir had also killed Suraj Mal. Thereupon, the infuriated Jat troops mobbed his mansion and it was only when Suraj Mal in person came out and sat for a while before them that their fears were dispelled.12
However imperative it might have looked to Safdar Jang, the treacherous assassination of Javed produced results contrary to his expectations. It antagonised the Royal family, alienated the nobility and aroused misgivings on all sides. The Emperor, always prone to depending upon others, now extended his confidence to the Wazir's more capable and dangerous Turani opponents, Intizam and Imad, the new Mir Bakhshi. A concerted and more powerful opposition thus came into existence which ultimately led to the Wazir's overthrow.13
12. TAH, 40b-41a; Bayan-i-Waqai in Elliot, VIII, 133; Shakir, 71; Ahwal, 119; Tarikh-i-Muzaffart, Elliot VIII 317, S.PD., XXI, 54, SO; Imad, 91; Ibrat, 15a; Memoires des Jats, 35-36, devotes full two pages on Javed and his murder. yet it is silent on Balu's affairs (in fact at no place the name of this Balram occurs in this Ms.) and Suraj Mal's presence during this deed Also see Srivastava, Oudh, 2071'; cf. Sarkar, Fall, 1, 372.
13. For details, Srivastava, Oudh, 210ff.
Murder of Balram
G.C.Dwivedi writes......[p.161]: The departure of the Jat Vakil to Jaipur almost coincided with the commencement of Imad-Maratha offensive in Mewat. On 26th November, 1753 (29th Muharram, 1167 A.H.), Imad sen this chief agent, Aqibat Mahmud Khan, with 500 Badakhshi and 20000 Maratha soldiers to reconquer Faridabad, which was in his Jagubut had been in Balram's occupation for some time. On being demanded revenue and tribute, Balram became ready for a fight. Imad then sent 700 additional troops and 30 pieces of high artillery and rockets. After some resistance Balram decided to submit. Hence, he met Aqibat, presented him asharfis and promised to clear the dues.31 Aqibat sent his men to Suraj Mal also demanding the peshkash due from him but that chief, "pround of his beg forces", ignored him. At the same time, Aqibat found the peasants at Palwal evasive in paying the revenue. They pretended that Balram might demand it again. Santosh Rai, the Qanungo of the place (Who on account of his expulsion by Balram has become his mortal foe) asked Aqibat that unless he killed Balram he would fail to recapture the district. A thanahdar despatched by him to Fatehpur was expelled by the local peasants who stood by Balram.
31. TAH, 89a-90a.
The authorities differ regarding the manner of Balram's murder. The Court historian says that Aqibat insisted on Balram to pay the promised tribute, saying that Imad had made the peace for him (although it was incorrect) and that Imad was reproaching him for the delay in collections. Balram replied that he had not brought "the money in his pocket" which he had promised to give only after collecting the rent and that if he (Aqibat) wanted to wrest this tract he would have to fight for that. Aqibat got displeased over this reply and heated arguments followed. When Balram put his hand to his sword, the Badakhshis under Aftab Khan fell upon him and killing him along with his son, the diwan and nine others, losing two of their colleagues in the process.33 Sujan Charitra on the other hand says that Aqibat sent his agent to Balram, taking most solemn oaths to lull his suspicion. When the Jat arrived Aqibat spoke "sweet words" but the assassins, hiding close by, fell upon and cut the heads of Balram and his sons.34 Whatever the truth, both these sources agree that Balram's family, fled to Suraj Mal. Aqibat then got hold of the fort along with its artillery, treasures and other goods. The name of Ballamgarh was changed to Nizamgarh and the head of Balu was ordered to be exposed on a pillar near Faridabad, so that it might serve as a deterrent to other rebels. The news of the fall of Balram and his fort made the Wazir "unhappy".35
32. Ibid, 90b-9Ib.
33. TAH., 91b.
34. Sujan, 204.
35. TAH., 91 b-92b, 106b; Also Sujan 205; Dow, Hindostan, II, 324.
सूरजमल ने शाही राजधानी दिल्ली तथा आगरा के निकट शाही जागीरों पर कब्जा करके वहां पर अपने जातीय लोगों को स्थापित करने और उन्हें पूर्ण संरक्षण करके अपने प्रभाव विस्तार की नीति अपनाई। दिल्ली के 20 मील दक्षिण में बल्लभगढ़ के स्थानीय जाट नेता बलराम ने, जो पहले फरीदाबाद का मालगुजार था, सूरजमल का समर्थन पाकर न केवल बल्लभगढ़ के अपने दुर्ग का निर्माण किया, बल्कि फरीदाबाद के स्थानीय मुग़ल अधिकारी जकरिया खान के पुत्र मीर याह्या खान को पराजित करके पलवल एवं फरीदाबाद के शाही परगनों पर अपना अधिकार स्थापित कर लिया। तेवतिया गोत्र के जाट बालू या बलराम के नाम पर इसका नामकरण बल्लभगढ़ हुआ2। (तारीखे अहमदशाही; पृ० 23अ)
- Dilip Singh Ahlawat- “ Jat Viron ka Itihass”: 1857 - THE FIRST WAR OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE
- Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992.
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